Larissa Vejarano: On Bravery and Standing Your Ground When Faced With The Uncertainty Of Lyme Disease
What do you do when you have quite literally, no where to turn? What do you do when you are faced with unbearable pain, loss, depression, anxiety, and absolutely no answers as to why? What do you do when the people closest to you don't believe you when you say something is wrong. Something really, really awful is going on inside of me?
Unfortunately, those are the questions that many of us face when we are either in the process of being diagnosed with, already suffering from, or have been fighting Lyme Disease for many years. There is no certainty, and for many, there is no solution. We can do everything right only to find that we should have done things differently. That the obstacles we face may never leave us part of an outcome we feel comfortable with.
With that being said, I would like to introduce you to someone who has forged her own path in unfolding and discovering the importance of standing your ground when facing unanswered questions. When facing a disease that takes your life and turns it upside-down, and her name is Lari Vejarano.
Lari is a force to be reckoned with. She is a piece of hope where little is found, resilience amidst hardship, determination when facing obstacles, and laughter when all else fails; she is living a life more than in a country where, like many, Lyme is not given the recognition is deserves, but despite it all, Lari is rolling up her sleeves and pursuing treatments, doctors, and a life amidst the chaos that is this disease.
She, herself, is bravery. She is helping to lift us up and push us forward when the world comes crashing down around us.
And this is her story...
I've always been such a communicative girl and passionate traveler...always talking, making friends, going out and having fun! But one day I felt like my life didn't have a meaning. I didn't have any real passions or something to focus and follow the path to get it. But all in all, life was ok. Not as good as I would like it to be, but everything was fine so I didn't feel the need to find ways to make it better. I was just living.
Everything started when I went to Houston, Texas to spend the summer with my family. Everything was amazing, but when I came back to Brazil I started to feel really sick. The zika and other mosquito's diseases were the main health problem here, at the time, so I told myself it was just a common and ordinary issue.
But, days were passing, and I wasn't getting better. Everyday it was getting worse, the pain, the headaches, weird feelings, and being so tired . . .
I am in my last year of high school. So much was going on in my life and I could not follow all the events. I soon stopped going to school, stopped seeing my friends, and instead, spending my days in bed or at the doctors doing blood tests. They couldn't find what was wrong of course, so I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. At this point, I have gone through quite a lot of struggle to find answers, leaving me feeling so scared and lost. My family did not believe in all the pain and suffering that surrounded my days. Maybe because of the fear, I started to get worse and worse and my fogged over brain was terrible. I could feel that my head was not working and I started to worry about how I would be able to go to university or live the life I wanted to.
But I didn't have words to describe that. I couldn't tell anyone what was going on. For everybody I was just depressed, so I decided to save myself and started to look at what an answer to that could be.
And that's when I found out about Lyme through the internet. At first, it was so scary. I used to read all day about the worst stories and the poor life of patients... I don't know why, but I knew that was my problem. And the feeling of getting worse everyday was consuming my life. But it made me chase the answer! I talked to my doctor here ,and she told me "it's all in your head, If you have had lyme, you would be dead now!" Of course, I didn't believed her, so I had to travel 8 hours to the only place in Brazil that has a doctor that knows a little about Lyme Disease. Here, ONLY about 3 doctors have a clue what Lyme Disease is, and there are a lot of Brazilians traveling to U.S everyday for treatment.
Finally, after 6 months I was diagnosed. For me it was so relieving, and since then I started to do all I could to get better, because there's no specialists here. I know that i'm not doing the right treatment, but I do whatever I can to help myself because I am alone. I am still alone; I'm 17 years old and trying to heal myself because nobody believes me yet. Everybody thinks it's only a bacteria, and I look fine so that's amazing. But on the good side, I started to read and search a lot! Now my life has a meaning! I want to be as healthy as I can.
I want to totally love myself, and spread that love and awareness! I feel so strong and proud about what I'm doing, and the fact no one understands is bad, but the good part is that I'm not proving anything to anyone but me. It feels so good!
I can focus on my goals and have a real lifestyle change. Nowadays, I am on the road to real happiness and a healthy life! I hope I can have the chance to go to U.S again to treat myself properly but it requires a lot of money and economy in Brazil is really bad right now. But I'm fighting and trying to see the good parts of it everyday! And the most important thing to remember is...
I won't let Lyme stop me from doing the things I want to do.
To finish, I'd like to thank you and everyone that shares their stories. That was how I could go after my diagnosis and how I feel less alone everyday!!!!